John Steinbeck had a number of elements in his life that inspired him to write The Grapes of Wrath. As with Of Mice and Men, the story of the Joad family (and others like them) during the Great Depression partially takes place in Salinas Valley, in...
...the San Joaquin Valley, a fertile farming area which lies east of the Gabilan Mountains.
It was in this area that Steinbeck grew up. While his family was considered comfortable (middle-class), he still needed to work as a teenager—which he did on local ranches. (This ranching experience would have been valuable in writing Of Mice and Men, which takes place on a ranch in Salinas Valley.)
Steinbeck would also have other insightful experiences—in particular, living a life such as the Joads on Spreckels ranch:
Steinbeck worked as a farm laborer, sometimes living with migrants in the farm’s bunkhouse.
Steinbeck was very observant. This would be a vital talent for his stellar, award-winning career. He not only noticed the details of the...
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